100-year-old WWII veteran completes 100-mile walk for charity, raises more than $100,000


In May, Mickey Nelson set his sights on a lofty goal: walk 100 miles. He also wanted to raise money for those financially impacted by COVID-19.

Recently, the WWII veteran achieved his goal and surpassed his original fundraising goal of $5,000.

Several months ago, Nelson said his family challenged him to raise money for those who didn’t have enough money to buy food during the pandemic.

“During the Great Depression my family always had enough food to eat.  My folks were frugal, grew and preserved fruits and vegetables and there were opportunities to hunt and fish,” he said. “Life is a lot different than when I was young – many people live in apartments and have no garden or ways to get food.”

He accepted the challenge, and set a goal of walking 100 miles in connection with his 100th birthday in June.

By June 8th, he had logged 39 miles.

“I know that people are struggling, either from the illness or a job loss from all the businesses shutting down,” Nelson told the Star Tribune in June. “I just thought there was something I could do to help.”

To complete his 100 miles, Nelson walked around Clarks Grove, Minnesota, the same town where he grew up.


During his several month-long trek, Nelson said he had two people in mind who kept him motivated: Capt. Tom Moore, the British WWII veteran who raised $39 million for healthcare workers, and Forrest Gump.

As he continued to count miles, donations poured in, and he exceed his initial goal.

By the time Nelson crossed the finish line with WWII reenactors by his side, he had raised over $100,000.

If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army as part of Nelson’s fundraiser, click here.

Congratulations, Mickey! You’re an inspiration to many. You set a goal to help others and not only did you achieve it, but you exceeded it.

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